Missouri juvenile probation officers operate under the supervision of the state judicial system, specifically the Juvenile and Family Court Divisions of the Missouri Judicial Branch of State Government. The districts are split up between the 45 judicial districts in the state, except for the 10 largest counties, which operate independent juvenile probation systems.
Juvenile probation officer jobs in Missouri are not considered peace officer jobs, so these professionals do not have the authority to arrest juveniles in their jurisdiction and are not authorized to carry firearms as part of their job. Rather, juvenile probation officer jobs in Missouri are more focused on counseling and rehabilitative service where juvenile offenders are concerned.
Education Requirements for Juvenile Probation Officer Jobs in Missouri
For the most part, juvenile probation officer applicants are required to have at least a high school diploma, GED or equivalent in order to be considered for a position with the Office of State Courts Administration. But, educational requirements do vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as some districts require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
Applicants with a degree in psychology, social work, sociology, criminal justice or counseling get more consideration than those who do not have such experience. Also, any work or volunteer experience in those fields will also move an applicant higher up in the recruitment process.
Along with the educational requirements, applicants must also meet the following criteria in order to become a juvenile probation officer in Missouri:
- Must be a United States citizen
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Must have a valid driver’s license
- Must be in good physical condition
- Must be of high moral standing
- Must have no felonies, or certain misdemeanors on criminal records
- Must pass a drug screen and psychological evaluation
Training for Juvenile Probation Officer Careers in Missouri
There is no training academy for juvenile probation officer in most jurisdictions in Missouri. Instead, people that have been hired on to work as juvenile probation officers are required to complete 40 hours of training during their first year of employment with the Office of State Courts Administration. The training will teach employees how to communicate effectively with youth, family members and community members, file reports properly, interview techniques, investigation techniques and how to de-escalate situations.
Additional Training for Juvenile Probation Officers
Upon completion of the first year of employment and the required 40 hours of inservice training with the jurisdiction, juvenile probation officers seeking a career in Missouri must then complete additional training every year that they are employed with the jurisdiction. The type of training and the length of training that is required every year varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but all of them require some type of additional training after the first year of employment. The additional training usually involves more advanced techniques built upon the skills learned through the first year or training and on the job experience, and also addresses potential legislative changes to juvenile probation operations in Missouri.